July 25, 2011
Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
The winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced for 2011. The contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.
Subliminal Sex Messages and Pornography in Advertising and Cartoons (SLYT-SFW)
The Joy of Dullness 1 | The Joy of Dullness 2: a gallery of dull, curious or odd book covers on informative and explore-worthy Bookride. [more inside]
First we started with planking, then owling, and then it go so hot we just dove in. We're all familiar with planking. (Some tragically so.) An obvious exponent would be owling (even by celebrities! and more celebrities!) Now we're leisure diving.
Last week saw the first release of this year's Summer of Arcade, Bastion (Trailer 1, Trailer 2). Reactions have generally been very positive, including from the venerable Tom Chick and Kill Screen. Drawing praise are the art, writing (by game critic turned developer Greg Kasavin) and music (unofficial playlist, somewhat spoilery). But most noted has been the dynamic narration that permeates the game. [more inside]
Irish PM condemns Vatican interference in sex abuse cases. Enda Kenny, the new Taoiseach of Ireland, has scathingly criticized the Vatican, citing the Cloyne Report and a recently-leaked Vatican letter intended to prevent sex abuse cases from going public, despite their public policy of reporting all abuse claims to the authorities. (Similar claims of the Vatican not reporting recent child abuse cases have also been made in the US.) Ireland's Minister for Justice has cited an extensive list of The Church's failures to comply with their policies, and is supporting legislation to make it a crime not to report child abuse claims. The Vatican's envoy was asked to report to Parliament and explain The Church's position on this matter quickly, with the implied threat that they might be forced to testify. Today, the Church, citing "surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions" has recalled their envoy. "(This) should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government."
Muzak filter: Ernesto Cortazar (1940–2004) was a composer and pianist who was born in Mexico City. According to his wiki page (which reads like it was written by a friend), he composed background music for more than 500 motion pictures. His music is the type you receive in inspirational emails full of kittens & sunsets. So, it is suitable only as background wall of music for those willing to forgo their cultured sophistication. The only time he was mentioned on the blue, was on a pre-Askme Q&A from 2001 about ‘Cool Christmas Songs’
Sorry Marty.. but 2.21 gigawatts ain't gonna cut it. Scientists have proven nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, so no time travelling for you, bub. A new study published in the American Physical Society's Physical Review Letters journal concludes that even single photons have to obey the posted speed limits. [more inside]
A fixture in NYC's Tammany Hall for 25 years, Murray Hall kept a secret. Murray Hall was buried in women's clothes (PDF), and the masquerade he carried out led to a proposed rule that politicians wear whiskers so that women (who did not yet have the right to vote) could not surreptitiously cast a ballot.
The Carter Family Project [via mefi projects] To quote the original post: "We're recording every single song the Carter Family ever cut. In order. One per day. In one or two takes. And we've got some real good guest stars, too."
"I play a CD of a long Evan Parker sax solo while they [enter the theatre]. I figure if people can’t put up with that then they will probably not be able to put up with me." Quoth Benito Strauss, in the context of the Daily Mail's crusade against cruelty to millonaire stand-up Michael McIntyre: Yeah, I'd love it if someone would do a post on Stewart Lee. So: [more inside]
SheBop, a "female friendly sex toy boutique," in Portland, Ore., has a great blog where they post comprehensive guides, among other things, on less-often addressed sex and sex-toy issues like the sex toy cleaning guide, Lube 101, how to use a cock ring, and the lowdown on Kegel exercises. Probably NSFW.
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has just finished the initial drilling phase of the East Side Access project to bring the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Terminal. What are they doing with the tunnel boring machine? Giving it a funeral. (NYTimes link, use this if you need to get past the paywall) Instead of removing the $8 million machine, the contractor responsible for this portion of the project has decided it will be cheaper to leave it in place at the end of the tunnel. This is not without precedent; some of the TBMs used for the Channel Tunnel were turned off the tunnel mainline and left buried.
GE has posted a searchable bird's-eye view of the 6,000 most popular airports in the world.
"I'm going to fight this cancer now, so I can be back to fight for families when Parliament resumes"
CanadaFilter: Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition following the New Democrats historic electoral victory this spring, announces he will step aside temporarily after second cancer diagnosis. Nycole Turmel recommended as interim leader. [more inside]
Should a Wash Post writer take one toke over the line to build trust to get the story? The Washington Post has a strict policy that its reporters not engage in anything illegal to get a story. Does that include taking a hit on a joint or pipe if it will get the subject of the story to open up? Not surprisingly, the reader poll had over 70% say, I'd hit that.
Zombie proof your doors IF AN invading zombie army is staggering towards your front door, don't worry: a fingerprint-activated door lock could save your bacon. That's because one group of researchers has worked out how a biometric scanner can keep the undead at bay. Fingerprint scanner to spot the living dead In NewScientist 25 July 2011 by Paul Marks
Since 1998, Christian Humor Magazine Ship of Fools has been sending Mystery Worshippers to churches to write reviews. [more inside]
NASCAR pre-race, promotional prayer. SLYT
On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.
Jason Padgett is the first person to acquire synasthesia and savantism by head trauma. Three years after his mugging, he began drawing complex geometries, including hand-drawn approximations of fractals, the first time anyone had ever done so. Eventually a mathematician suggested Padgett take a math course; with trigonometric notation Padgett offered a proof of his approximation of Pi. [more inside]
"With same-sex marriage now legal in New York," the New York Times reports, "some gay sons and daughters are starting to feel the same heat from parents as do their straight siblings." As with so many things, The Onion saw this coming years ago.
Storseisundet Bridge, along Atlantic Road, the Atlanterhavsveien in Norway, is a mind-bending (at certain angles) cantilever structure guaranteed to thrill you.
"A difficult situation or problem whose seemingly alternative solutions are logically invalid." The tragicomic 1961 novel that sprang from Joseph Heller’s experience as a W.W. II bombardier mystified and offended many of the publishing professionals who saw it first. But thanks to a fledgling agent, Candida Donadio, and a young editor, Robert Gottlieb, it would eventually be recognized as one of the greatest anti-war books ever written. In an adaptation from his Heller biography, Tracy Daugherty recalls the tortured eight-year genesis of Catch-22 and its ultimate triumph. [more inside]
Collusion is a firefox add-on that visualizes in real-time which data collection companies track you across different websites on the web and what they're learning about you. Atul Varma describes how this project came about. Safari meanwhile has ghostery, an extension that gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity. [more inside]
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review.
Nisha Sondhe, a portait photographer and photojournalist, has been documenting similarieis between New York and Bombay (Mumbai) since 2008: An art director once told me, “I know you can shoot exotic things abroad and make them look beautiful, but can you take pictures of familiar things and make them look beautiful as well.” Which was interesting to me because when I would show work for jobs in India, people would ask me why they needed to see “photos of boring everyday things in India.” New York art directors are just like Bombay art directors. In fact, New Yorkers in general are just like Bombayites and the more I looked around the more I realized that the two cities are exactly the same. (via)